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New school superintendent: Ogallala native Tell North Platte what you think
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Marty Bassett

The North Platte School Board announced Friday that Marty Bassett, a native of Ogallala, will be the district’s superintendent.

Bassett is currently superintendent of public schools in Wray, a eastern Colorado town near the borders of Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas.

Bassett has also been assistant superintendent in Parachute, Colo. on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.

Bassett has taught for 14 years and worked in administration for 12. He currently studying for an Educational Specialist degree at Wayne State College and expects to earn it in May.

Bassett has a broad experience in school administration, having worked as an activities director, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. As an administrator, Bassett has worked in districts of 700 to 20,000 students, the school board said in the announcement.

The Grand Junction, Colo. middle school where Bassett was principal was named a “School to Watch,” culminating in Bassett’s presentation on school reform at the 2008 National Schools to Watch Conference in Washington, D.C.

Also, the Wray district is one of 15 in Colorado selected for an educator effectiveness pilot project, involving a national conference funded by the Gates Foundation as part of the "Measure of Teacher Performance" project.

Bassett said that honor is a recognition of an entire community effort in Wray.

Four candidates

During the past two weeks, four candidates for superintendent visited North Platte and were interviewed by the school board as well as groups of teachers, administrators, school staff members, students and community members. The board considered their written input.

“We really appreciate the time and energy people volunteered to be a part of this process. The insights were very useful and revealed a broad consensus of agreement about which candidate’s strengths best fit our district’s needs,” school board president Jim Paloucek said.

Since June 1, Tami Eshleman has served as the district’s interim superintendent following the resignation of Dr. David Engle.

“We are very lucky to have someone of Tami’s talent and energy step in," Paloucek said, "and, with the help of the entire school community, bridge the gap between permanent superintendents. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who pitched in to keep things moving forward.”

Fit the mold

Bassett’s strengths fit the profile the board wanted. He has a proven record of success as an administrator. He is a native Nebraskan, enjoys being involved in community organizations and attending school and community events. His communication skills have allowed him to build consensus and work collaboratively to reach student achievement goals.

Bassett sees effective professional development of teachers and administrators as a key to improve student learning and he has experience with the concepts of professional development used in North Platte’s schools.

He works hard to earn the trust of the public he serves and to communicate about the work of the school. To further his goal of returning to his native state of Nebraska, he sought an Educational Specialist degree from a Nebraska college in order to be familiar with the state’s rules and procedures, the board's announcement said.

Bassett also has a strong background and experience with integrating technology into the learning process, the board said.

“Most importantly,” vice president Kathy Phares said, “Mr. Bassett’s past work illustrates a clear focus on student learning and successful efforts to improve outcomes for students.”

Final destination

Bassett considers the North Platte superintendent position to be a final destination for him, not a stepping stone to some future job, the board said, and to serve the community schools for 10 or more years.

The opportunity for a long period of continuity in the school leadership position was a significant strength of his.

“It was very clear that Marty Bassett really wants to be in North Platte, really wants to provide each of our students the best opportunity for success, and is going to work really hard,” board member Julie Nielsen said.

When notified, Bassett said he is honored.

"This is an exciting time in public education and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the students, staff, parents, and community of North Platte to provide a world class education system," he said.

Bassett will officially begin July 1, but it is hoped that he will spend some time working and planning with the North Platte school community before then.

Details of the contract are being worked out, the announcement said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/20/2012
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